“Don’t lose any more weight.” Mark ordered as he strapped a cervical collar onto my neck. “At least not until you build some muscle on your back and neck.” “But, but, I’m so close to my goal,” I whined like a petulant three year old. I really didn’t think my injury due to a fall in high heels in our gravel drive was related to muscle loss. Yes, I had given myself a case of whiplash that would make me respect the injury for the rest of my life, but that was due to the fall and not to the thirty pounds I had lost this spring.

In case any of you have been following my 59th year goals – one is to return to my marriage weight by my birthday in September. I am getting so very close and my teeth are deeply sunk into the end goal like a dog ferociously latched onto a meaty bone. I want to achieve this goal!

My fall happened while hunky-marine-corp-doctor-hubby was in Morocco on a military exercise. Thankfully he returned a week early and began issuing doctor/commander sounding orders …all intended to get me well…fast. Take this pill! Wear this collar! Stay in bed! Build muscle!

I love this man.

And I will be a good patient and do everything he tells me….except…I simply must reach this goal! I am almost to a countdown which will be announced in this blog. Watch for a giant 10 to appear. That means the last ten pounds is on its way out. In the meantime I know I must start exercising.

But first things first – right now I am lying here in bed next to my sleeping, jet-lagged hubby -even in his dreams his hand stretches across our king bed in search for my hand –

The muscle relaxant he insisted I take is blissfully starting to kick in……..

And…. before… I… doze… off (it took me 30 minutes to write this last sentence)..

I am grateful again that God helped a once troubled marriage make its way back to tender care.

Here is some dependable wisdom for your marriage that you can take to the bank: Care for each other well in sickness. This kind of love in action will put deep deposits into each other’s emotional bank accounts.

truly mama re


Returning freshly done up from Muddy Paws Pet Grooming, and all caught up on shots from Muddy Creek Animal Hospital, Bodie gets to celebrate by riding home with the top down for the first time all spring.

April means ......top down!!!

April means ……top down!!!

“You know,” my husband began solemnly, “This is Easter weekend and tomorrow is Good Friday”. “No, it’s not,” I answered without surprise or sarcasm…just a tad humorously. “Easter was last weekend. Remember all the cool stuff we did with the grandchildren? Remember the awesome service in the chapel?” “Oh that’s right,” he grinned. No, Mark is not on the verge of Alzheimer’s disease. In fact his mind is as sharp as ever. We just go pretty fast around here and time slips by.

We, in fact, had a great Easter. The service in the Naval Academy chapel is always grand with the midshipmen choir singing their hearts out from the balcony under the dome. Add to that two baptisms performed in a hot tub hauled to the front just for this occasion.

Our kids all go to their own churches. Graham and Esther have always been members of the Vineyard church. Whitney and JD attend a community church in D.C. and Logan and Laura go to Apostles in New York City. So, we didn’t see any of them until the afternoon when Graham, Esther, our four grandchildren and Whitney and JD came by for a roast dinner.

Now I have a confession to make – Mark and I don’t like playing with children. We will sit and look at them for hours, but we don’t have any desire to play with them. I consider this an unforgivable weakness on my part and I am always working against this feeling. What grandmother doesn’t like to play with the kids? Given that confession you will understand that even though this is probably not a big deal to you, we were nevertheless very proud of ourselves when we came up with the idea for a scavenger hunt for the children…rather than ANOTHER egg hunt (they had already been to two). Mark made up all the quiz questions and the children (and Mark, by the way) had a blast finding their way to their Easter baskets. In this picture he is reading the next clue that will send them dashing to another part of the house.

Easter scavenger hunt with Mark, Kyrie, Juliet, Ransom and Blaise

Easter scavenger hunt with Mark, Kyrie, Juliet, Ransom and Blaise

So, yes, dear, we did have Easter and it was glorious. How many glorious times have we forgotten? Will we remember them all in heaven? I hope so.

Dear Mama Re,
Our children’s grandparents want to give our preschool aged children everything they want the instant they want it. The children are sweet about it and have not become demanding, so no one sees this as a problem but me.
No-fun mom

Having to wait may not be any fun...but it is so good for you.

Having to wait may not be any fun…but it is so good for you.

Dear NFM,
There is a funny study that has been out for some time about hungry four year-old children. Researchers placed a single marshmallow in front of each child and told them they could eat it immediately, or, if they could wait to eat it for fifteen minutes, they would then get to have two marshmallows. One-third of the children ate the marshmallow immediately. But, that is not the end of the story. Fourteen years later the same children were observed after graduation from high-school. What they found was truly remarkable: The children who were able to wait for the two marshmallows at age four displayed much greater self discipline, had better grades, had higher SAT’s, and were more successful socially. The children who ate the single marshmallow immediately had lower SAT’s and were lacking in social skills and self discipline.

The message from this and many other studies is clear: Children need to learn self discipline and delayed gratification in order to succeed in life. It is not good to get everything you want when you want it.

Bodie on an early February morning

Bodie on an early February morning

Dear Mama Re,
My husband and I disagree on how we should discipline our two young boys. My husband says I am too strict with them, but he lets them do whatever they want while telling me to lighten up. Who is right?
Frustrated and Confused

Dear FC,
Parenting styles can be categorized in three ways – authoritarian, permissive and authoritative. Authoritarian parents are “controlling, punitive, rigid, and cold, and their word is the law”. Permissive parents “provide lax and inconsistent feedback and require little of their children”. Authoritative parents are “firm, setting clear and consistent limits, but they also try to reason with their children, giving them explanations for why they should behave in a particular way”.

A study I read recently measured the impact of mother’s and father’s discipline with their preschool children on their subsequent classroom behavior. One of the results was quite interesting and relates to your question directly. It was discovered that if the mother was authoritarian towards her children and the father was permissive, it tended to produce children who had more “acting out” behavior in school.

Unfortunately, inconsistent parenting happens all the time even though we know how detrimental it can be. People have always had strongly differing views concerning what they think is effective and appropriate parenting.

The ideal situation for children is for both parents to have an authoritative parenting style and to be in agreement concerning rules and consequences.

Try this. You and your husband make a nightly habit of discussing all the possible disciplining scenarios that can occur in your near future. For example you could say this: What if we are in church and our two year old decides to fall in the foyer in front of the pastor and throw a fit..what do WE do? Or our four year old is having a birthday party – what if he is rude to his little guests and won’t share…what do WE do?

Use the description I gave of authoritative parenting style as your guide, and come to a mutual agreement on how you would like to handle each situation.

Dear Mama Re,
My four year old won’t leave me alone. He is constantly at my elbow wanting to help. Everywhere I go and everything I do he is always right there looking eager and saying, “ Can I do it?!” Yesterday I actually tripped over him as I was unloading groceries because he was beside me ‘helping’ me lift the bags and I didn’t see him. Now I have a twisted ankle. Yes, it is sweet, I know, but it is driving me a little crazy and I just want to put him in front of the TV and get stuff done all by myself. Would that be so wrong? What should I do?
Too much help

Dear TMH,
Parenting an inquisitive, eager child is a lot of work but it pays huge dividends.
A rather large longitudinal study noted that one of the best predictors of future success in children was the degree of industry in childhood. When you were young did you like building things, creating, planning, and participating in activities like carrying in groceries? Did you always want to be with Dad in the garage hammering something? In the study I mentioned, 450 men were observed for over 35 years and it was discovered that the best predictor of success was not IQ nor family of origin issues but rather the amount of industry as a child.

Next time your little one wants to help in the kitchen, or in the garage…and you send them off to watch TV or work on the computer to get them out of your hair, think about this study.

There are so many children now who will need to be encouraged to become active and industrious because they have been ‘trained’ to just sit and watch the world through media. They have lost that eager spirit. Don’t worry, they can get it back. Here are a few suggestions. Turn the computer and the television off. (This is harder for us parents than it is for our children). Give them regular chores. Have family workdays where you learn to have fun together while you are developing new skills and doing things that benefit your home. Let your children see a positive attitude in you as you go about your daily work.

Yes, I said the word work in this letter more than once. It is a great deal of work to raise an industrious child. It is even exhausting when they are young. But God gave children to young people for a reason. You have the energy to do it. So, decide now to make the extra effort to raise an industrious child.
You won’t be sorry, I promise.

Yours truly,
Mama Re

Facing the day - Sunrise from our bedroom window.  Winter at Tenthouse

Facing the day – Sunrise from our bedroom window. Winter at Tenthouse

“When did you feel the most beautiful?” This from my husband as his sister, Linda, and I were preparing dinner (he has a habit of asking probing questions during dinner). I started raking my brain for ideas and was having trouble thinking of even one time I felt particularly beautiful. Now, I don’t think I am too bad looking. I can be pretty cute at times. But beautiful? Linda was already relating one of her favorite memories in vivid detail. Why couldn’t I think of anything?
Finally I understood my problem. This may sound silly to you, but I only feel beautiful when I have a waist – and I have not had one for awhile. I am a short, ‘sturdy’ woman who has always dreamed of being ‘willowy’. That adjective does not work on my frame. Even when I lose weight, I never look ‘thin’, I just look smaller…but still sturdy. I bought a Westie because the breed was described as ‘sturdy’. I liked that because I empathized with it. Bodie and I have something in common-we know we will never be willowy. But does this mean we will never be beautiful?

Well, I made a decision, If I can’t be willowy, I know I can at least have a waist and that might make me feel beautiful. This is not one of my more noble goals, but I have to be honest with you, it really is a goal. I don’t have to tell most of you the more important benefit of a smaller waist – that it is healthier for your heart to have less fat around your middle. So, there you are – achieving wedding weight by the time I am 60 =small waist=healthy heart=feeling beautiful and getting to wear shirts tucked in.
And my sweet, patient husband loves this goal. Achieving it will be as much a gift to him as it will be to me.

And I am off to a decent start.

Since my 59th birthday I have lost 16 pounds using Medifast food, and availing myself of a great coach whose advice comes free with the purchase of the Medifast products. I gained three of those pounds back over Christmas, but lost it last week, so I hope I am back on track. This week I am traveling with my hubby to San Diego for nine days. This can be good and it can be bad. Mostly it is good….with no food prep I am less tempted, and i can always find something on a menu that is healthy. My suitcase is full of Medifast stuff. Everything in Medifast is protein disguised as something else, milkshakes, candy bars, soups, chips, etc. Some of it is good and some of it you get used to and some of it you ship back (which you are allowed to do).

People always ask me how I will maintain my weight loss. Will I have to stay on Medifast the rest of my life? The answer is, “I don’t know.” I know from experience that maintaining weight loss is a whole different animal from getting the weight off, and I must figure out a plan. But the first goal is just to get the fat off.

Another question I get is, “Are you exercising?” The answer to that is, “Not yet.” Right now I am attempting to burn fat only. When I arrive at (an undisclosed amount) a certain weight and I feel I have lost a good deal of body fat (only), I will then begin training. I’m not sure when that will be, but, again, I will let you know.

One thing I do know is that these days when I wake up in the morning I feel terrific and I can’t wait to jump out of bed and get on with my day. That good feeling is partially because I am eating properly and I have more physical energy, and partially because I feel stronger emotionally as I grow in self discipline. Self discipline is a ‘muscle’ you exercise just like you would other muscles in your body. Self discipline can become weaker from lack of use, or stronger as you practice saying ‘NO!” to yourself. When you practice saying “No!” to yourself, you are engaging in ‘mental push-ups’.

There are even more benefits to waking up feeling healthy and strong. When I am being true to my diet goals, I wake up eager to encourage those around me, I have more endurance and can happily face the work day, I am more positive and cheerful, I am less intimidated by people and situations, I worry less about myself and my aches and pains (which are going away!) and think more of others. When I feel good physically and stronger emotionally, I smile more, and I say, “Yes!” more.

And, get this….I am getting all those wonderful benefits and I am not even to my goal weight yet…I am just on the way.

So, take note, it only takes 48 hours of self discipline with a diet or an exercise program to start feeling great. You feel so wonderful to just be on the way…long before that goal is actually reached.

My advice? Start now…today…this hour.
I guarantee that tomorrow morning you will wake up happy.

yours truly,
mama re

We sat together quietly weeping.  Thirty Annapolis women, mothers, grandmothers, and great-grandmothers, having our annual Advent coffee…in tears over the horror of innocent first graders being gunned down in their school just days before.

Deep conversation between old friends

Deep conversation between old friends

This group of neighbors, church friends from different denominations, and community leaders has been meeting for over 35 years simply to study the Bible. We have one thing in common – Jesus.   The members in this sisterhood of believers are in different places in their own journey toward faith.  Grace is given for being in those different places.  This is our glue: We all believe Jesus is God and the source of all truth, all love and all grace.  We believe we are his people put here on earth to worship Him, and we meet together to help each other understand how that is to look in this world and in our families and our communities.

Deede, our friend, neighbor and inspiration.

Deede, now in her 70’s and still so lovely, led us through an Advent prayer as we all sat in Sally’s beautiful living room decorated for the season with memorabilia from many generations.


Then we all started sharing our thoughts and feelings about the shooting in Connecticut last Friday.   Women who had lost husbands and children in years past spoke with the authority that can only come from personal experience – of God bringing them to a new understanding of Him as they suffered through their own excruciating pain. Lorrain talked about a pastor she knew close to where the shooting occurred. He and his congregation were now caring for the families of those who had lost precious little children – and the members of that congregation were suffering greatly as they tried to meet the needs of those families.

We remembered other children suffering in the world because of war and poverty.  We remembered our unborn babies lying peacefully in their mother’s wombs only to be painfully torn from that safe and sacred place. This remembering of other suffering children did not diminish the tragedy in Connecticut… rather, Connecticut brought back to our awareness the severity of the ongoing plight of other children in danger – those preyed upon by others the world over.

And this thought about vulnerable, sweet children throughout the world brought us back to Jesus – Jesus, born in poverty during the time of fearful Roman rule – Jesus born as a subject to a terrifying tyrant king – Jesus, a baby – displaced – a refugee without a home -Jesus, an innocent, brutally murdered as his mother grieved at his feet.  Jesus, a marvelous mystery – all man – all God – all good – all loving – all powerful – all knowing -all forgiving.

This season, in this time of suffering, choose to turn to Jesus for your comfort and help.  Choose to believe that Jesus is the source of all love, joy and peace.  Choose to believe in Jesus.

Army – Navy in Annapolis is more than just a football game played once a year.  Every, and I mean every event all year long at the academy is punctuated at the end with the crowd thrusting a fist in the air and screaming at the top of their lungs, “BEAT ARMY“.  My grandchildren will roll down the car window if they see any team running down the street and give the exhausted midshipment or startled high-school students…or even the lone civilian out for a run … an enthusiastic, “Go Navy, beat Army!”

Well, you might be aware or you might not have a clue, but the Army-Navy football game is being played today in Philadelphia -a rivalry that is over 100 years old –and we are not going for the first time in 15 years.  It was my mistake.  When I bought our season tickets last spring, I just forgot to purchase our Army-Navy tickets.  Call it old age (I AM 59 as you all know!), but I just let it slide.  So, instead of going to the Army-Navy football game, Mark and I attended the Army-Navy club boxing match last night in the yard.  Mark was the doctor checking all the mids and cadets out as they left the ring.

I had never attended a boxing match before in my life and the blood surprised me, but I will have to say, I have never seen so much testosterone in one room.  This was the gritty stuff men crave- sweat, blood and in-your-face contact.  I hate to admit it….but I sort of liked it too.













Mark just finished getting his doctor stuff ready and is waiting for things to begin.


Mark’s doctor kit is all ready to go and now we are waiting for the action to begin.

Two mids preparing for the ring

Two mids preparing for the ring


Coach for Army tapes up the hands of the cadets on his team

Coach for Army tapes up the hands of the cadets on his team


Navy coach greases up faces

Navy coach greases faces

115 pound midshipman waiting to box

115 pound midshipman waiting to be first in the ring

No Army-Navy event would begin without honoring our country and our flag

No Army-Navy event would begin without honoring our country and our flag.  It is gratifying to know that there is a place where patriotism is still respected.

Army lands a good punchThe fighting begins with Army landing a solid punch on Navy.

The light-weights duke it out.

The light-weights duke it out.


End of first round -Navy in his corner

End of first round -Navy in his corner – can I spit now?

Army in his corner getting prepped for the next round by his coach

Army in his corner getting prepped for the next round by his coach

The bell strikes - round two

The bell strikes – round two

Navy fans

Navy fans

Army fans

Army fans

Mark checks each one for injuries when they come out of the ring

Mark checks each one for injuries when they come out of the ring

Navy wins the heavy weight division

Navy wins the heavy weight division

Blood from his opponent's nose splatters his jersey

Blood from his opponent’s nose splattered on this mid’s jersey

As always, Army cadets and Navy midshipmen are great sports no matter what they are doing.

As always, whether they win or lose, Army cadets and Navy midshipmen are great sports












Living my 59th year - fully, fearlessly, joyfully, abundantly......truly

Living my 59th year - fully, fearlessly, joyfully, abundantly......truly

The Casting Dock

Living my 59th year - fully, fearlessly, joyfully, abundantly......truly

Truly Mama Re

Living my 59th year - fully, fearlessly, joyfully, abundantly......truly

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